Children who have articulation difficulties often have trouble with fine motor skills. If your child has a hard time holding a crayon correctly, try building up the strength of the writing fingers/tripod grasp with these types of activities:
1) Encourage your child to use only the writing fingers to crumble squares of tissue paper and then glue them onto a simple coloring page, filling in the space that would typically be colored in. The crumpled tissue balls can be picked up with a strawberry huller and placed into a bowl. It’s also fun to play Sneaky Squirrel using the strawberry hullers.
3) Lacing cards
4) Pull pennies hiding inside Yellow Theraputty with writing fingers. Each retrieved penny can be placed into a bank (or cut a slit into the lid of a container) using the same fingers. Roll the putty into a snake and pinch it from one end to the other only using tripod fingers. Form tiny balls and then make mini pancakes using the thumb or pointer.
7) Color Matching or Patterning with Small Clothespins – Squeeze clothespins using the writing fingers onto a piece of cardboard into a pattern or make lines or dots with the same color markers around the edge of the cardboard. Your child can match the clothespins to the colors.
8) Empty Spice Jar – Pick up a colorful craft stick or toothpick using the writing fingers and place it into a small hole at the top of the jar. Color code the holes for a color-matching task with Sharpies to make it interesting.
The links above are general product suggestions. Consider materials you may already have at home, and begin with those! Try starting with two activities you think your child might like from the list above.
Manhattan Handwriting Specialist/Occupational Therapist Lauren Stern, OTR/L, gave me these ideas! If you have concerns about your child’s handwriting and fine motor development, she can be reached at lauren@laurensternKidsOT.com.
Stephanie Sigal provides speech therapy and kindergarten prep in Manhattan/on the Upper East Side of New York City or over Zoom. You can reach Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-295-4473. Stephanie would love to hear about your child’s speech and language development.